RWJ University Hospital at Somerset

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Somerset, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, is a nationally accredited, 341-bed regional hospital providing comprehensive emergency, medical/surgical, behavioral health and rehabilitative services to central New Jersey residents. As a designated teaching hospital of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, the hospital maintains a family medicine residency program with 21 residents.

RWJUH Somerset has earned significant national recognition for clinical quality and patient safety including the Magnet® Award for Nursing Excellence and designation as a “Top Teaching Hospital” by the Leapfrog Group. As the first hospital in New Jersey to offer primary health care services for the LGBTQIA community, RWJUH Somerset has been honored as a Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality by the Human Rights Campaign.

The Steeplechase Cancer Center at RWJUH Somerset has been designated as a Comprehensive Community Cancer Center by the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer. RWJBarnabas Health and RWJUH Somerset in partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey – the state's only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center – bring an internationally recognized team of researchers and specialists, providing close-to-home access to the latest treatment and clinical trials. The hospital is also distinguished for its Joint Surgery Institute, and is designated as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.

The Department of Pharmacy provides pharmaceutical services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Overall, there are approximately 34 FTEs including managers, pharmacists, residents, technicians and support staff. All pharmacy technicians are certified by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and assist pharmacists in filling orders, medication delivery, and sterile and non sterile product compounding. Medication reconciliation technicians work in the Emergency Department and interact with patients, families, and retail pharmacies to ensure an accurate medication history is obtained. Clinical services are provided in various areas including, but not limited to internal medicine, critical care, emergency medicine and other specialty areas (e.g. geriatrics, infectious diseases, oncology and investigational drugs).

Medication is dispensed via a point of care decentralized distribution model supported by automated dispensing cabinets (ADC) on patient care units that provide nurses ready access to medications. A complete IV admixture service compliant to United States Pharmacopeia (USP) 797 regulations is also provided. With a dedicated staff of employees, modern facilities, a strong commitment to medication safety and performance improvement, a focus on customer service, and a role in educating future health-care professionals, the Department of Pharmacy at RWJ University Hospital Somerset is devoted to delivering operational and clinical excellence, while advancing care and maintaining financial and operational growth.

In 2021, RWJUH Somerset was the first acute care hospital in the RWJBarnabas Health system to go live with EPIC, a state-of-the art electronic health record system with enhanced communication amongst providers and improved delivery of care. Pharmacy staff continue to support the implementation and enhancement of EPIC to ensure safe medication use. The system allows for computerized prescriber order entry (CPOE), guidance from evidence–based order sets, an electronic medication administration record (e-MAR) and bedside bar-code medication administration (BCMA).

Our pharmacists are actively involved in therapeutic management. Our policies, guidelines, programs and services ensure that patients receive evidence based appropriate pharmaceutical care as measured against accepted standards. Several clinical programs and protocols have been developed at RWJUH Somerset by the Department of Pharmacy, which include but are not limited to drug dosing protocols, the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program (i.e., pharmacy run vancomycin pharmacokinetic service, antimicrobial rounds), and clinical monitoring programs (i.e., anticoagulation monitoring program). Our critical care pharmacist works with our Intensivists under collaborative protocols to optimize medication therapy in the critical care patient population. Three Rutgers faculty, who are residency trained and dual board certified support the clinical pharmacy program. They provide a significant contribution and serve as resources to family medicine, critical care, and the emergency department.

Individuals from the Department of Pharmacy are involved in numerous research activities, frequently publish and present scholarly work, and provide external educational programs on a national, state and local level. Pharmacists provide drug information and education to medical and nursing staff as well as patients, caregivers, and other members of the health care team to promote the safe, effective, efficient, and patient-centered use of medication therapy. In 2021, we became the practice site for a Rutgers University clinical pharmacology fellow whose research involves the impact of discharge medication reconciliation on patients at high risk for medication related iatrogenesis and re-admission.

Since the start of the pandemic, Pharmacists have been an integral part of the RWJUH Somerset COVID team responsible for the development and implementation of COVID drug related algorithms. Pharmacists have been involved in several interdisciplinary COVID 19 research projects leading to publications and presentations at national meetings. Pharmacy has also supported our hospital COVID 19 vaccine clinic providing vaccines to employees and the community at large.

RWJUH Somerset Department of Pharmacy is currently affiliated with Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University, precepting more than 50 students per year and serving as a Knight Scholar site. The Department has established training and continuing education programs to foster the professional development of staff and students, and has had a PGY1 Residency program since 2015 with two PGY1 resident positions.

RWJ University Hospital at Somerset Pharmacy Leadership